Distracted driving results in more deaths in B.C. than impaired driving

Distracted driving results in more deaths in B.C. than impaired driving

ICBC, government and police are reminding drivers to “take a break from their phone”

Distracted driving continues to claim more lives on B.C. roads than impaired driving.

Despite tougher penalties, more police enforcement and continued public education, on average, 78 people still don’t make it home to their families every year because of distracted and inattentive drivers*. In contrast, an average of 66 people are killed each year due to impaired driving. In fact, distraction and driver inattention is one of the top contributing factors in motor vehicle fatalities in BC and contributes to more than one quarter of all car crash deaths.**

In a recent Ipsos Reid study conducted for ICBC, nearly all respondents agreed that it is extremely risky to use their hand-held phone while driving; however, 38 per cent of drivers said that they use their phone during at least 10 per cent of the trips they take.

This month, drivers will be hearing one united message – take a break from your phone when you’re behind the wheel.

Police across B.C. are ramping up distracted driving enforcement in September, and community volunteers are conducting Cell Watch deployments to remind drivers to take a break from their phone when driving.

New this year, ICBC is working with four car share companies in B.C. – Car2Go, Evo, Modo and Zipcar – which will help spread the message to car share customers, ensuring more B.C. drivers are aware of the risks of driving while distracted.

The campaign will feature new TV and radio advertising, airing throughout the province from September 8 to October 11, as well as digital and social media advertising.

Free ‘not while driving’ decals are available at ICBC driver licensing offices and participating Autoplan broker offices for drivers to show their support and encourage other road users to follow their example.

You can view more tips and statistics in an infographic at icbc.com.


David Eby, Attorney General

“Distracted driving is entirely preventable, as are the crashes and casualties caused by the behaviour. To address this issue, our government is moving forward with a pilot program of new technologies to eliminate distracted driving among high-risk groups, and to increase public awareness of the risks of this dangerous driving behaviour. Drivers need to be part of the solution too: put down your phones before driving; keep them out of reach; and keep yourself, your passengers and other road users safe.”

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth

“Heading into the school year, I’d like to remind everyone to be safe behind the wheel and keep your eyes on the road at all times. Drivers are facing higher fines, more penalty points and possible driving prohibitions for repeat offences with legislation that came into effect on June 1, 2016. Distracted driving is a high-risk driving offence, which makes it equivalent to excessive speeding, and driving without due care and attention. If your vehicle isn’t equipped for hands-free use of your handheld device, turn off the ringer before you turn on the ignition.”

Superintendent Davis Wendell, OIC E Division Traffic Services and Vice-Chair, B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee

“The law is clear: you must leave your phone alone when operating a vehicle,” said Superintendent Davis Wendell, OIC E Division Traffic Services and Vice-Chair, B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “Police will be out in full force this month reminding you to put your phone away when you’re behind the wheel. No text or call is worth the risk.”

Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s director responsible for road safety:

“Distracted driving results in more fatalities than impaired driving, and is also one of the leading contributors of crashes with pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists,” said Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s director responsible for road safety. “It’s time we all commit to taking a break from our phone and stop driving distracted.”

Regional statistics**:

  • Every year, on average, 26 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Lower Mainland.

  • Every year, on average, 8 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes on Vancouver Island.

  • Every year, on average, 32 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Southern Interior.

  • Every year, on average, 14 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the North Central region.

*Includes talking, texting or using a device while driving.
**Police data from 2011 to 2015. Distraction: where one or more of the vehicles involved had contributing factors including use of communication/video equipment, driver inattentive and driver internal/external distraction.

Joanna Linsangan

September long weekend road trip? Make it a safe one

August 31, 2017

Long weekends are terrific – no one can dispute this – but they do mean increased traffic on the highways and a greater risk of getting in a collision. SGI is reminding motorists to do their part to make sure everyone gets to their destination safely.

“Whether you’re driving to see your family, heading to the lake, or coming into Regina for the big game, let’s make this Labour Day long weekend a safe one for everybody travelling Saskatchewan’s roads,” said Earl Cameron, Executive Vice-President of the Saskatchewan Auto Fund. “You can do that by driving sober, avoiding distractions, buckling up and obeying posted speed limits.”

Over the 2016 Labour Day long weekend, there were 265 collisions, resulting in four deaths and 55 injuries, according to preliminary data. Alcohol or drug impairment was a factor in two of those deaths and six injuries.

SGI offers the following tips for drivers hitting the road this Labour Day weekend:

  • Drive sober – Your risk of a long weekend collision nearly doubles when alcohol is involved. Saskatchewan’s tough new laws mean penalties for impaired driving start at .04 blood alcohol content (BAC), with three-day vehicle impoundments and licence suspensions. There is zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol for new drivers and anyone 21 years of age and under. If your long weekend plans involve a few drinks, plan a safe ride. If your friend has been drinking, be a good Wingman and don’t let them get behind the wheel.
  • Leave the phone alone – You’re controlling thousands of pounds of steel and glass travelling at high speeds, so that deserves your full attention. Distracted driving is the second-leading cause of fatal collisions in Saskatchewan. If you get caught driving with your phone in hand, it’s a $280 fine and four demerit points. Experienced drivers can only use their phone if it’s mounted on the dash or visor, using the one-touch or voice-activated function. Drivers in the Graduated Driver’s Licensing program are prohibited from using the phone entirely.
  • Buckle up – Seatbelts have been the law in Saskatchewan for 40 years, yet in 27 per cent of fatalities last year, someone wasn’t restrained properly. Seatbelts are mandatory for everyone and child safety seats are required for all children under seven years old.
  • Don’t speed – Hey, it’s the LONG weekend, so you’ve got plenty of time to get there. Obey posted speed limits, and watch out for construction zones and school zones where speeding tickets are even more expensive. Also, with harvest underway, slow down and be patient around any farm equipment that may be travelling along our highways and rural roads.
• • •


Customer inquiries
Customer Contact Centre
775-6900 in Regina


Stay safe, stay alert: Labour Day long weekend could spell 2,000 crashes on B.C. roads

Stay safe, stay alert: Labour Day long weekend could spell 2,000 crashes on B.C. roads

As British Columbians ramp up to enjoy the final weekend of summer holidays, drivers are encouraged to stay safe and stay alert when behind the wheel. ICBC anticipates as many as 2,000 crashes to occur this long weekend. About six people are killed and 520 people are injured every Labour Day long weekend.

Drivers should expect more volume on highways and roads with people taking their final summer road trip.

ICBC warns drivers to watch for drowsy drivers and to look out for symptoms of fatigue in themselves. According to drivers participating in a recent poll* by ICBC, more than half (55%) reported to being tired at least some of the time when travelling long distances.

Drowsiness can cause drivers to lose focus, slow their reaction time, impair their vision, and affect their ability to make good driving decisions.

Warning signs:

  • Drifting out of your lane
  • Inconsistent speed
  • Erratic braking
  • Missing an exit or turn
  • Frequent yawning
  • Frequent blinking
  • Loss of concentration

How to protect yourself:

  • Get enough sleep. Most people need seven to nine hours of sleep to be well-rested and alert the next day.

  • Travel in the morning. Sleepiness can affect people throughout the day, but drivers are prone to drowsy driving in the late-afternoon and late at night when the body’s circadian rhythm dips.**

  • Take frequent breaks. Schedule a break at least once every two hours. Use this time to send an update to family and friends, or to check road conditions. There are currently two rest areas that have free Wi-Fi – the Britton Creek stop on the Coquihalla near Merritt, and the Glacier View rest area on Highway 16 near Smithers.

  • Share the driving with others. Split the responsibility to get to your destination safely with other drivers in your vehicle.

Drivers are encouraged to plan ahead by visiting drivebc.ca for the latest road conditions.

Regional statistics***:

  • 390 people are injured in 1,300 crashes in the Lower Mainland over the Labour Day long weekend.
  • 51 people are injured in 270 crashes on Vancouver Island over the Labour Day long weekend.
  • 63 people are injured in 310 crashes in the Southern Interior over the Labour Day long weekend.
  • 16 people are injured in 120 crashes in North Central B.C. over the Labour Day long weekend.

Labour Day crashes are calculated from 18:00 the Friday prior to the holiday to midnight Monday.

*Long weekend survey with ICBC Customer Advisory Panel, 1087 total respondents, May 2017
** Source: Transport Canada
***Fatality data is police data based on five year average (2011 to 2015). Crash and injury data is ICBC data from 2015.

Media contact

Joanna Linsangan

ICBC asking drivers & parents to keep children safe as school returns

ICBC asking drivers & parents to keep children safe as school returns

With children returning to school next week, B.C. roads will be busier than ever. ICBC is asking drivers to give themselves extra travel time so they aren’t rushing and to avoid any distractions. Drivers need to be focused on the road and watch for children, especially in or around school zones.

Every year, 370 children are injured in crashes while walking, cycling or skateboarding and six are killed throughout the province.*

Police and Speed Watch volunteers will be closely monitoring drivers’ speeds in school zones across the province to help children get a safe start to the school year.

Every year, 72 children are injured in crashes in school and playground zones in B.C.

Parents are encouraged to review the rules of the road with their children and go over their daily route to and from school.

Tips for drivers:

  • Every school day, unless otherwise posted, a 30 km/h speed limit is in effect in school zones from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • When you’re dropping off your children in school zones, allow them to exit the car on the side closest to the sidewalk. Never allow a child to cross mid-block.

  • If a vehicle’s stopped in front of you or in the lane next to you, they may be yielding to a pedestrian, so proceed with caution and be prepared to stop.

  • Watch for school buses. Vehicles approaching from both directions must stop for school buses when their lights are flashing.

  • Before getting into your vehicle, walk around it to make sure no small children are hidden from your view. Always look for pedestrians when you’re backing up.

Tips for parents and kids:

Regional statistics*:

  • In the Lower Mainland, four children walking or cycling (aged five to 18) are killed and 253 are injured in crashes every year. In school and playground zones, 42 children are injured every year.

  • On Vancouver Island, two children walking or cycling (aged five to 18) are killed and 55 are injured in crashes every year. In school and playground zones, 11 children are injured every year.

  • In the Southern Interior, two children walking or cycling (aged five to 18) are killed and 43 are injured in crashes every year. In school and playground zones, 13 children are injured every year.

  • In North Central B.C., two children walking or cycling (aged five to 18) are killed and 16 are injured in crashes every year. In school and playground zones, six children are injured every year.

ICBC provides free road safety educational materials to B.C. schools to help students from kindergarten to grade 10 learn about road safety topics unique to their grade level using fun and interactive activities.

*Notes about the data:

Children defined as aged five to 18. Crash and injury averages based on 2011 to 2015 data reported by ICBC. Fatal average based on 2010 to 2014 police-reported data. School/playground zone injury statistics based on police data from 2010 to 2014 (five year average).

Pedestrian includes a person in or on a wheeled recreational device or wheeled toy. This includes rollerblades, a skateboard, scooter, unicycle or similar wheeled device.

Media contact:

Lindsay Olsen

182 motorists caught speeding in work zones during July Traffic Safety Spotlight

News release:

182 motorists caught speeding in work zones during July Traffic Safety Spotlight

Aug. 28, 2017

July was another busy month for law enforcement as they focused on catching drivers speeding in both municipal and highway work zones. During the monthly Traffic Safety Spotlight, 182 tickets were issued in construction zones, all related to speeding1:

  • 177 tickets for exceeding 60 km/h while passing highway workers or occupied highway equipment within a work zone
  • 5 tickets for speeding in construction zones where a flag person is present

As there are still many road construction projects across the province, SGI reminds motorists to obey speed limits and exercise caution when driving in work zones. If the work zone is signed, drivers must slow to the posted speed limits, regardless of whether workers are present. Base fines for speeding in a construction zone are triple that of a regular speeding ticket.

Other results from July’s Traffic Safety Spotlight:

  • 5,514 tickets for speeding or aggressive driving
  • 522 tickets for inappropriate or no seatbelt/child restraint
  • 462 tickets for distracted driving (including 337 for cellphone use)
  • 382 impaired driving offences (including 327 Criminal Code charges)

Follow SGI on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for tips on how to #TakeCareOutThere with other road users.

Learn more about work zones and speeding.

Like many things in life, success often depends on preparation as much as it does on the delivery.

Read more

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